Intended for healthcare professionals


Diet and overall survival in elderly people

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 02 December 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1457
  1. Antonia Trichopoulou, professora,
  2. Antigone Kouris-Blazos, lecturerb,
  3. Mark L Wahlqvist, professorb,
  4. Charalambos Gnardellis, research fellowa,
  5. Pagona Lagiou, research fellowa,
  6. Evangelos Polychronopoulos, lecturera,
  7. Tonia Vassilakou, research fellowa,
  8. Loren Lipworth, doctoral candidatec,
  9. Dimitrios Trichopoulos, professorc
  1. aa National Centre for Nutrition, National School of Public Health, Leoforos Alexandras 196, Athens 115-21, Greece,
  2. bb Department of Medicine, Monash Medical Centre, Clayton, Melbourne, Victoria 3168, Australia,
  3. cc Department of Epidemiology and Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, United States
  1. Correspondence to: Professor Trichopoulos.
  • Accepted 20 September 1995


Objective: To assess the influence of a specific dietary pattern on overall survival.

Design: Cohort study.

Setting: Three rural Greek villages, the data from which were collected as part of an international cross cultural study of food habits in later life.

Subjects: 182 elderly residents of the three villages.

Main outcome measure: Overall mortality.

Results: Diet was assessed with a validated extensive semiquantitative questionnaire on food intake. A one unit increase in diet score, devised a priori on the basis of eight component characteristics of the traditional common diet in the Mediterranean region, was associated with a significant 17% reduction in overall mortality (95% confidence interval 1% to 31%).

Conclusion: A diet meeting currently understood health criteria does predict survival among people.


  • Funding In Greece, by the ministry of health (grant No E139/94), and in Boston by a grant to Harvard University from Theodore and Gianna Angelopoulos.

  • Conflict of interest None.

  • Accepted 20 September 1995
View Full Text